To be honest on 100 mile+ events I've ended up alone for long periods towards the end of the route. I'm usually way down the field as I've been cycling for less than a year and at the tail end it thins out a lot!
The Descents can be worse than the climbs, especially on a wet day and wouldn't fancy it when cars aren't as aware of a mass participation cycle event.
There may be a lot less people cycling but at least those is cars travelling up the other side of hardnott and wrynose are aware that there are likely to be cyclists hurtling down towards them during an event like the Fred
Feel for the guy that completed it ten times in ten days then!
I entered the Fred this year but had to pull out due to a wedding invitation. So I did the EdD instead but keep thinking of doing the Fred out of season. Maybe we could do it together. I'm not particularly fit though, took 10:11 for the EdD this year, although 1.5 hours of that was stopped at feed stations